Monday, September 7, 2015

Oh, Yes!

We recently had some house guests from Florida and it's hard to impress Florida folks with citrus things. Florida rivals California and Texas for the Citrus Excellence title, so I was on my mettle while they were here.

One evening, however, I had a surprise treat. My pal Sari had given me three nice blood oranges from her backyard tree and they had been lurking in my fruit bowl for a couple of weeks. While our guests were away for a few days visiting their daughter, I whipped up a pan of blood orange granita to serve between courses as a refresher.

If you haven't had granita before, I can highly recommend it. It's sort of like sherbet, but coarser, grainier, more like a tart and tingly shave ice. If you've been to Hawaii and had shave ice, you know the texture. It's icy and crunchy. Granita, however, is not so sweet as shave ice. Mine is more of a wakeup call for the taste buds.

I served it in very small bowls, just a little treat between courses. It is a wonderful color - close to watermelon but with a little more jazz, and it's so cold that I have to eat mine slowly to avoid brain freeze. Dave, our "gourmet" friend (although he would never call himself that) who has worked in food service, took a bite and said, "Oh, Yes!" before finishing his down to the scraping. Perfect for a warm summer evening.

Blood Orange Granita (as usual, mine is a gmish of recipes borrowed from here and there and then tweaked)

Takes just a few minutes to make but several hours to freeze. One must plan ahead.

3 blood oranges, juiced
Simple syrup made with 2 parts sugar to l part water and boiled until the sugar dissolves, then cooled
1 bay leaf
Freshly ground fine black pepper
1/2 cinnamon stick

In a small saucepan, make the simple syrup. When the sugar dissolves, add the bay leaf, cinnamon stick, and pepper, and boil for a minute or two. Set aside to cool. Leave the bay leaf and the cinnamon in to steep as the syrup cools. Remove the bay leaf and cinnamon before mixing with the juice.

Here's the tricky part: the ratio of simple syrup-to-juice depends on the sweetness of your fruit. You want the granita base to be sweet enough not to pucker up the guests, but tart enough to get their attention. So, you must add the syrup to the juice a little at a time, tasting as you go, until you have just the right mix. 

Pour into a shallow metal pan and freeze for several hours, or over night. If you want, you can freeze the bowls you plan to serve it in so their chill helps keep the granita frozen. When ready to serve, scrape the mixture in the metal pan with the tines of a fork to break up the granita into grainy perfection. Working quickly so it doesn't melt, scrape up enough for a small bowl about the size of a demitasse cup or a little more for each guest. 

Serve with a small spoon and wait for the "Oh, Yesses!"


Blogger Katie Zeller said...

I've always wanted to try to make granita.... You make it sound easy. Love blood oranges... they were common in Andorra but not so much here in France

Saturday, September 12, 2015  
Blogger Zoomie said...

Katie, it really is simple to make - the challenge for me was keeping it cold enough when serving. :-)

Tuesday, September 15, 2015  
Blogger Diane said...

sounds and looks wonderful...I love reading how you put together your cooking ideas!

Wednesday, September 16, 2015  
Blogger Zoomie said...

Diane, it's mostly just guesswork and I only blog about the successes... :-)

Tuesday, September 22, 2015  

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